Page 18 - European Energy Innovation - Summer 2016 publication
P. 18

18  Summer 2016 European Energy Innovation


Rotating EU Presidency: The
Netherlands’ turn at the wheel

Wie op twee hazen te gelijk jaagt, vangt geen van beide
                                                                                                                               –Dutch Proverb

By Michael Edmund, Editor

The Netherlands took over                  echoes in Brussels; the humanitarian      economic catastrophe still looms over
            the rotating EU Presidency     catastrophe that continues to wash up     many European economies.
            on the first of January, just  upon the shores of Greece and Italy has
            as the elation surrounding     provoked the ghastly sight of barbed      Each new revelation, while clamouring
the COP21 ‘landmark agreement’             wire rolling across European fields once  for space on European front pages has
began to be succeeded by analysis          again; and claim has met counter claim    demanded some form of response and
and inquest. These things being            over the potential role of Turkey and     threatened perhaps to derail the Dutch
as they are, the Dutch were never          its European aspirations. Disturbing      agenda. While adding to any list of
going to have to attempt the role of       tales from many European countries        priorities risks diverting attention and
consolidating any advances made in         of the unacceptable behaviour of          effort away from the existing ones, the
Paris: their priorities had already long   individual migrants have reinforced       question of which European priorities
been set. Nevertheless, Dutch Minister     a collective sense of unease about        should have priority over all the other
for Sharon Dijksma (Infrastructure and     migration in general. Political upheaval  priorities seems a great deal less
the Environment) has met her French        in Germany, mirrored in Austria and       incongruous when assessed against
counterpart Ségolène Royal (Ecology,       elsewhere, is not the only manifestation  such a bleak geopolitical backdrop. A
Sustainable Development and Energy)        of this unease, which has also found      quick glance at the official programme
with the specific aim of maintaining       a democratic expression in the Brexit     of the Dutch presidency indicates how
momentum after Paris, while the            referendum whose outcome is being         its four key priorities have reflected the
Commission has also undertaken to          followed with interest in many member     immense challenges we face:
examine carbon pricing further.            states made restless by Europe’s
                                           plight. The continuing weaponisation      • a comprehensive approach to
Perhaps somewhat inevitably, a litany      of gas and the collapse in oil prices         migration and international security
of events, at once fascinating and         have been complicated by the
appalling, has unfolded over the last six  international rehabilitation of Iran and  • Europe as an innovator and job
months. Atrocities committed upon the      the emergence of Azerbaijan. And all          creator
streets of Paris have have found terrible  the while, the Damoclesian threat of
                                                                                     • sound, future-proof European
                                                                                         finances and a robust eurozone

   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23